03 March 2007

Peter Wilby hits some nails into a right wing heart.

Peter Wilby highlights how the right wing not only exploit the poor in practise but also in theory. He points out the simple flaws in their use of the poor in arguments against;

Road pricing: Among the poorest 20% of Britons, 59% don't have access to a car.

Flight Tax: The average annual income of passengers passing through Stansted in 2005 was £51,000, and fewer than 8% came from the bottom two social brackets.

Comprehensives: In England's surviving grammar schools, only 2% receive free school meals against 14% nationally.

The Minimum Wage: Tim Worstall waxes lyrical about job losses. Almost unbelievable when you think of how the policies he advocates led to over 3m dole claimants under the Tories (that the right thought a price worth paying). Labour reduces unemployment by over 60% and he maintains outrage at a minimum wage because he suggests 60,000 jobs 'might' not have been created. How can we take someone like this seriously on anything after he has tried to make this pathetic argument?

Also good to see Peter Wilby mention the idea of a Citizen's Income to tackle poverty.

*Update* Just want to point out I was only having a go at Tim Worstall for his opposition to the minimum wage, he supports road pricing, a citizen's income and flight tax and is ambivalent about comprehensives - as he points out in the below comment. The target of my ire was right wingers who do oppose theses things such as the Tory party and their press friends.


  1. Neil, I think you might benefit from a little course in reading comprehension. As I'm the only "right winger" mentioned in your blog post I'll have to assume that I'm the target of your ire.

    1) I support road pricing, as anyone who has read my blog over the past few weeks would know. I've specifically mentioned the fact that it won't be as regressive a tax as some claim precisely because, as Wilby points out, many of the poor don't in fact have cars.

    2) I've supported the flight tax: given the figures from the Stern Review on CO2 costs, it looks just about right as a Pigouvian Tax (also, as recommended by the Stern Review).

    3) I tend not to argue much about comps and grammars...just note that we should have a system like Sweden's. A full voucher system.

    4)Citizen's Income? Another policy that I support and have done for some time. Indeed, I do so in that piece you link to.

    5) Minimum wage. No, this is one that I don't support. For exactly (amongst some others as well) the reason you have here. The minimum wage does indeed destroy jobs.
    Now, if you want to make the argument that even so, a minimum wage is still worth it, I might disagree but would have to respect your logical consistency.
    However, if you want to deny that such jobs have indeed been destroyed then I have to say that you are wrong. You can check that by reading the Low Pay Commission's report on the subject.
    I have no objection to people having a different view of the trade offs that policy decisions involve.
    Those who refuse to believe that there are such trade offs I'm afraid I regard as simply ignorant.

  2. Tim, You were not the target of my ire, just your oppositin to the minimum wage was. Sorry that I gave the impression that you were against all the other things as well - I will change the post a little to make this clear - I was just making the point about your opposition to the minimum wage. I should give examples other than yourself on this post. You were the first prominent right-winger that came to mind - I hope you take that as a compliment.

    I did read on your blog that you support road pricing and I have known that you support a citizen's income - very pleasing, and I am pleasantly surprised you support /or are ambivalent about the flight tax and comps.